This I Believe

Angela - Horseheads, New York
Entered on April 26, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: legacy, respect

Wheelchair Companionship

As a member of the Key Club over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to

provide assistance to the elderly population in our community. Our population of seniors is

steadily becoming the majority in our society. Providing companionship, working in soup

kitchens, assisting with daily tasks of living, and accompanying these seniors during shopping

sprees and attending Church, have instilled in me a sense of understanding how important social

stimulation and interaction is for these wonderful human beings in their twilight years.

It is when they would show me the multiple vials of medications needed to sustain them

on a daily basis, then I would realize their true frail state. These individuals, once giants and

legends in their community, now reduced to the humble weakened state of having to be

dependent on a high school student pushing them from place to place in a wheelchair, and yet

never complaining, only smiling and grateful for the attention that they are receiving. To my

amazement, the stories they tell nonchalantly with calmness and tranquility, in their soothing

voices, makes one eager to hear more.

The experiences they shared with me were the personification of history books. The most

memorable activity in this club was shopping at the mall with the elderly. I spent my day

pushing a sweet lady around in a wheelchair. Miss Mary May spoke of the transition from an

adult to a senior. She told me how people become impatient with her, speak to her like she is an

infant, and honk their horns when she is driving. As we shopped together I could tell how

grateful she was for the company and assistance. I watched how she held onto the little money

that she had, looking but never buying anything. Finally, we came along a Christmas ornament

hanging in the window. Miss Mary May stopped to smile at it with joy. I reached for the

ornament and placed it in her lap so she could get a better look. As I rolled her up to the cashier,

I noticed the blue and green ornament glistening in her hands. She purchased it for me; this was

the only item she bought that day.

The elderly are not old, rather wise. They deserve respect from others. Instead of

honking the horn in anger, society should be understanding and smile, knowing that one day,

that will be you. The time spent with these seasoned individuals has helped me realize how

much they have been through: wars, depressions, and the list goes on. As I was preparing to

depart from Miss Mary May, she gestured for me to come closer. Whispering in my ear she said,

“Remember me.” I believe that the elderly are a significant part of the world. Spending their

lives, hoping to improve it for the newer generations, is something to be admire. The least we

can do is remember them.